Armen Chakmakjian

Archive for August, 2010|Monthly archive page

A facebook status from a friend triggered this thought…

In Random on August 31, 2010 at 8:00 pm
When I was growing up, my father bought encyclopedias and an atlas…that gigantic atlas that always seemed bigger than me.    We already had a set or two of grocery story kids encyclopedias and then he bought the bicentennial version of the Encyclopedia Americana and built a built-in shelf unit in our Den for it…So when you watched a movie or the news, the darn encyclopedia was staring down at you.   And off in the corner of the room, the Atlas leaned up against the wall.  Information was available, and he showed that it was important because we had to pay for it, prominent because it was where the family gathered, and the message: to not use it was stupid since it was right there.
This led to the following behavior:
  • Watch Cleopatra, look up Cleopatra.
  • Watch Peter the great, look up Alexander Menshikov.
  • Watch 3 mile Island disaster, look up nuclear power.
  • Hear about Serbo-Croatian terrorist put a bomb in a NY subway locker, look up Serbia and Croatia in the Atlas and find out they were part of Yugoslavia (at the time).
  • have to do a report for school, do your initial research at home in the encyclopedia before you went to the library with the article’s bibliography.
These day’s with the internet, information doesn’t seem as precious since it lacks the physical presence that it once required.  Now we google everything first.   I wonder how the commoditization of knowledge affects the kids tastes in looking up things…can they discern thoughtful information from chatter?
PS and we’d always try to find out what the reference to Armenia was in all these things…it was like a Where’s Waldo of geography 🙂

A funny story that I just remembered…

In College, technology on August 28, 2010 at 4:13 pm

So years ago when I was in college RIT announced that the IEEE was sponsoring a visit from Maurice Wilkes, the inventor of the EDSAC, one of those single named computers that we all learned the history of when we were in school.  All of us geeks went to the auditorium and he told us stories about the first bug and all the different things that happened in the evolution of computing during the 40’s and 50’s.   So finally the Q&A portion of the lecture began, and people asked some not controversial questions, clarifying history, talking about networking’s effect on computing (this was the era of token-ring vs ethernet debates).    Finally some yahoo, who just had to ask a question, asks the following:

Yahoo: Professor, where do you come down on interrupt driven vs polling

Wilkes: (without any hesitation and a sort of disbelieving look on his face) There is only polling.

A stunned silence came across the room.  Then the whole place busted up in laughter.  Partly at the yahoo for asking such a stupid question to a god of computing, but partly because most of us had just been taught a lesson in 4 words that actually should have known ourselves from what we were learning in school at the time. We just never thought about it.   I’m sure there are things like this story in other fields…obvious things that no one asks themselves but when someone finally asks, the answer was “well duh of course”

Anyway, I don’t know why that popped in my head today.

A catch up post…

In Business & Finance, career, College, iPad, Kindle, Literature, Science Fiction, Social Media, technology, web 2.0 on August 28, 2010 at 3:45 pm

I’ve been remiss in updating my blog. This summer has been pretty busy. So here are a list of random things that I’ve come across this summer that got a reaction out of me:

1) iPad Mania. ho hum. I played with one, it is now circulating through my team. I get it, but I don’t necessarily want one. Maybe if they add a camera or something.

2) Kindle 3. A bit tempting. Not sure why.

3) Echo livescribe pen. As someone at work pointed out, the only interesting thing about this pen is that it won’t roll off the table like it’s predecessor (which was completely cylindrical).

4) My new Taylor GA12 –  12 string guitar, it is a beautiful instrument to play. I will say though that for a lot of songs it is just TOO much guitar.

5) Facebook – uhm friending is done.

6) Twitter – less important, less conversation going on, but I still find the tag cloud the most useful thing when trolling for news.

7) Friendfeed is dead.

8 ) Youtube – I got hit by a copyright skimming group for one of my cover recordings – does that make me real or something?

9) QuickBase – the product I work on.  Try it, you’ll soon be trying to figure out how you ever ran your process/team without it.   It was an interesting summer, and the changes we have made (and are going to be making) are teaching all of Intuit about having SAAS offerings.

10) Intuit – 15% jump in the stock price. Yee Haaa

11) Kid going to college – Payments have begun – the next seven years are going to be financially interesting

12) Back to school in a little over a week for me too.  GS602 – Business Process Analysis and GS603 – Leadership and Ethics  – ought to be interesting, although the 602 syllabus looks like a lot of work.  The process simulation tool I had to download is pretty cool though.

13) Older son got his driver’s license.  brought me home a coffee today. 😉

14) My book Urtaru will be going to print sometime this fall.  This summer was not one where I had concentrated time to work on the print version.  Still available on the kindle.  It also looks like the modified Amazon agreement for publishing no longer restricts me to their bookstore, so I might move it onto other ones in addition.

That’s it for now.

The Kindle Killer? The NOOKstudy…

In Business & Finance, College, Social Media, technology on August 3, 2010 at 8:19 pm

So I am a happy kindle owner. I really enjoy reading it on a Sunny day on the beach or at lunch outside near where I work. I also go to school at night. When I attempted to buy books for classes on my kindle, few were available. And truly the small form factor is hard to use. There is the Kindle DX, but the price is steep…and when you get there, you really could go to the iPad (at least as the Kindle DX is rendered now).

I have the Nook software for my droid, and it is pretty much equivalent to the kindle for droid. OK for reading a book on a train or something.

Today I was invited to join NOOKstudy which is the PC/Mac based Nook software specifically designed for students. Works pretty well, of course…but there is a limitation. None of the e-textbooks available will be shareable with the other Nookish devices including the 6 in nook (or even the iPad from what I am reading) because of the textbook size.

This is a Kindle wounder though, if not a killer. Most kids buy their textbooks from B&N in the campus bookstores (used books often to save money). Now if I had a Kindle DX sized Nook that allowed me to take notes (or even just see them) on the portable device…that would be a useful thing. I probably would keep (or upgrade) my Kindle 2 for general reading, but I’d be using that NOOKstudyDX for school.

Just saying…